Oldcastle Theatre‘s 46th regular season comes to a close with Neil Simon’s warm and wonderful comedy Broadway Bound opening Friday September 29th and running through October 15th.
Simon, America’s favorite playwright, has authored several autobiographical works such as Chapter Two and Barefoot in the Park. Broadway Bound tells the interwoven stories of Simon and his brother Danny’s beginnings as comedy writers and the dissolution of their parents’ marriage. The New York Daily News called the play “expectedly funny and unexpectedly moving.” In the play Simon calls himself Eugene and his brother Stanley. Their efforts to come up with an idea for a radio comedy sketch sparkle with hilarity. When their material is broadcast for the first time the family is upset to hear a thinly veiled portrait of themselves played for laughs.
Oldcastle has assembled an outstanding cast of company veterans and actors new to Oldcastle. The returning actors include Jason Asprey who has been an actor with Shakespeare & Company for 24 years. This season he played Caliban in their acclaimed production of The Tempest and Cloten in Cymbeline. Mr. Asprey played the manipulative brother Geoffrey in Oldcastle’s production of The Lion in Winter in 2015. In Broadway Bound he plays Jack, Eugene and Stanley’s father, who is wrestling with a momentous decision. Sarah Corey returns to Oldcastle having played several roles in the company’s production of Around the World in 80 Days. Ms. Corey has acted all over the country in such theatres as the Public Theatre of Maine, Alabama Shakespeare, Florida Studio Theatre, Worcester Foothills Theatre, Lyric Stage Company, and Stoneham Theatre, as well as numerous productions in New York City. She recently appeared in Shear Madness at the Kennedy Center. Ms. Corey plays Kate, the boys’ mother who once became the envy of her neighborhood by dancing with George Raft.
Richard Howe, Oldcastle’s Associate Artistic Director, plays Ben, Eugene and Stanley’s grandfather, who holds on to his socialist beliefs and his search for quiet amid the storm of the Jerome household. Howe joined Oldcastle in 1975 and has performed in more than 200 plays with the company playing everything from El Gallo in The Fantasticks to multiple characters in Judevine. This season he has appeared in A Comedy of Tenors and Mauritius. Anthony Ingargiola enjoyed a personal triumph last season playing Huck Finn in Oldcastle’s highly successful production of the musical Big River. Anthony plays Eugene, the character based on Neil Simon. As the play opens, Eugene has decided to pursue a career as a writer. He and has just fallen in love with a girl about whom he tells his mother: “If I live to be a hundred, I’ll never meet a girl like her again.”
The Oldcastle newcomers include Amy Hayes and Robbie Rescigno. Ms. Hayes is the founding Artistic Director of Wisdom Tooth Theatre Project in Indianapolis where she directed and acted for several years. Ms. Hayes has taught at Shakespeare & Company for several years and has acted at Nebraska Rep, Indyshakes and the Phoenix Theatre. She has appeared in such films as The Celebrant and The Writer’s Room. Ms. Hayes plays Blanche, Eugene’s aunt, who became wealthy after marrying and moving to Park Avenue. Mr. Rescigno plays Stanley, the older brother, who brings home the chance he and Eugene have been waiting for. Mr. Rescigno has appeared on the Netflix series Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and ABC’s Black Box. He was a Theatre Bay Area Award nominee for his role of Herman in The Most Happy Fella.
“Neil Simon’s plays are always funny,” Eric Peterson, who is directing the play said. “But Broadway Bound is also heartwarming and heartbreaking. The six characters are all well developed and the stakes are high with everyone. This is dramatic comedy at its best. Newsday called it ‘a lovely comedy; warm, perceptive and gently humorous.’ I think that hits the nail on the head. This is one of the plays that made critics and audiences realize that Simon was much more than a joke writer. These are magnificent characters and this is a play that will live for a very long time.”
The set design is by Carl Sprague who, when not working in film and television, has been designing sets for Oldcastle for more than 30 years. The lighting design is by long time Oldcastle stalwart, David V. Groupe. Oldcastle’s resident costume designer, Ursula McCarty, is designing the 1940s costumes. The sound design, which includes some of the unforgettable big band music of the era, is by Cory Wheat, who has served in that capacity for every production this season. The stage manager is Gary Allan Poe, a founding member of Oldcastle Theatre Company.